New York City with kids (4&7)
We bought the New York City Explorer Pass – 4 attraction pass.
Bryant Park was our favorite thing we did!!
We enjoyed the Winter Village – ice skating (free with our skates from home), shopping at the Christmas Market, drinks/snacks at the pop up bar Public Fare and food trucks in the park.
Bronx Botanical Garden – See the train exhibit! So awesome! This was the boys favorite thing we did.
Hamilton Happy Hour Tour – Tino is a huge history fan and this was for him – however we all loved it. It was a great way to start exploring the Wall Street Area, and I highly recommend the tour. It ends at Fraunces Tavern on Pearl Street, the chicken wings were really good!
Grand Central Terminal – Don’t miss the ceiling, admire the most expensive clock I have ever seen, and be sure to check out the Train Museum. We spent hours in there watching the model trains that are displayed during the holidays. There are 60 shops and 35 different places to eat inside the Terminal.
Central Park – We went for Ice Skating (It ended up being more $ than Bryant Park but larger and on a real lake.) Sightseeing, Exercise, climbing on the rocks, horse drawn carriage rides and street vendors with art or playing various instruments is always an option.
Statue of Liberty – We did not reserve ahead of time and were lucky to get on a boat and go within 20 minutes. It was brisk that morning and a little cloudy but the island was not crowded. The boys picked up the headsets and left us for their own narrated adventure. They really enjoyed meeting her. We did not go to Ellis Island but you can go there after SoL if you desire.
National Geographic Encounter – Ocean Odyssey at Times Square. This was a cool interactive walk through exhibit. First you get to chase fish in the shallows and later you can play with computer-generated sea lions that will do tricks if you play with them. The whole thing was worth admission; we were there for an hour at least.
New York City Public Library at Bryant Park – Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence is here, its beautiful and has a good kids area for some down time.
Macy’s Santaland – You have to reserve your visit way ahead of time on their website or try and hope for a last minute cancellation. We were not lucky though we tried and tried.
See a Broadway play. We didn’t plan ahead for this. I used an app that sells last minute tickets and we all went to Aladdin! They didn’t want to leave after the show and asked to see it again. The actor who was the voice for Jafar in the movie played Jafar in our cast the night we went! I think they would have loved Lion King, but there were no tickets available for our dates. (For military friends! Go to the USO Times Square and check to see if they have tickets or if they can get them for you last minute. They have a wealth of information, so I’d recommend calling or visiting there early in your trip.)
Visit The Plaza – There is a food market under the hotel with a lot of cute different restaurants. We had high tea at The Palm Court one afternoon! Super fun! Bonus- it was the 25th anniversary of the movie Home Alone and they had a special set up of the movie.
Empire State Building – We went early in the morning when they were opening, no lines or crowd. It was great.
One World Observatory – We did this at night and the views were amazing. There was no crowd and no wait.
911 Musuem – The 4 yo thought all the displays inside retelling of the events in real time was a little much. Not sure all kids this age would grasp the concept – but his daddy was about to deploy to Iraq to “fight the bad guys” and I think that this made the exhibit very real. The 7yo did fine with everything but was ready to go after about 2 hours or so. We bought the handheld audio guide. I don’t think you need more then 2 for a group of 4.
Visit the Intrepid Air and Space Museum – While waiting in line to get in grab some donuts across the street at the car wash. YES AT THE CAR WASH! You’re Welcome.
Walk through the Oculus built in memoriam of 911 – It’s a mall and train station that cost $4 Billion!
Stroll down 5th Avenue
Ride the Subway. It’s an experience every kid should have.
On that note, ride in a Taxi! The boys loved this as well – no car seats and a tv screen and map with progress!
Where to Eat:
Little Italy – Ruby Rosa’s pizza
West Village – Joe’s Pizza, Bleaker St. Gelato
Italian food – Eataly – we ate there almost daily at a different restaurant (they all serve different foods). Via Carota, Buvette
Café Rafele – Great brunch but the BEST CHEESECAKE for any time of day!
Getting lost isn’t fun. Phones GPS directions get mixed up or slow to register because of the tall buildings. One of the most helpful tips I received from my local friend Lauren: St #’s going up = North, down = South. Avenues #’s going up = West, down = East. Trust me, this will make sense when you are there navigating. WRITE IT DOWN or bookmark this page!
If I had more time we also would have done:
Gulliver’s Gate – This is a city block of miniatures!
Chelsea Market – For eating and people watching.